Mental reminders can be your best friend, keeping you on schedule, checking off the to-do’s and making sure everything is going as planned (as much as you possibly can). These mental reminders are kind of like the angel sitting on your shoulder – they look out for you and encourage you as you go about your day. We all know how the story goes, while the angel sits on one shoulder, her nemesis sits on the other. The nemesis wears a scowl and likes to use a word that starts with sh…. Do you know what it is?
This word likes to run frantically through our brains. It unabashedly applies itself to every area of our lives; no topic, person or situation is off limits. This word paralyzes many to a point of indecision, unable to move forward or backward.
- Shouldn’t my child be walking by now, they’re almost 1?
- Shouldn’t my child be sleeping through the night?
- Should we be involved in more activities, so my child is more well-rounded?
- Should I get a tutor, so they don’t fall behind in school?
- Shouldn’t my child be getting better grades, so they can be successful when they grow up?
- Should I handle these situations differently with my kids?
- What should I do when _____?
- I should stay home with my kids.
- I should be farther along in my career.
- I should cook healthier meals.
- I should exercise more.
- I should do this because it’s tradition.
- I should know the right thing to do.
During these days when life gets busy, the “shoulds” seem to get louder. Your stress-level is already high, and one carefully placed should is enough to send the Jenga tower of your to-do list toppling over. Or the other thing that happens is you go into auto-pilot – never questioning the “should”, just doing it because it is what “should” be done.
So what do we do to save ourselves from the tidal wave of “should”? Simply by being aware of how the “should” influences you and controls your perspective will allow you the space to reconsider the “should” of the situation.
The thesaurus provides some very interesting synonyms for the word should including consider, enjoy, experience and feel. How do we really know if we should do something until we consider our own thoughts? Do we ever contemplate if the “should” is going to bring us joy? Maybe we need to experience it for ourselves before we know if we should, or should not, do it? And how can we ever make a decision on what to do if we don’t think about how it makes us feel?
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